Assessing the risk of stroke

Stroke or cerebrovascular accidents involve decreased oxygen to the neurons and the brain tissue due to interrupted blood supply, as detected by Ct scan in lahore. Cerebrovascular accidents (CVAs) are associated with preventable risk factors, and keeping a scorecard can help one assess their own risk. According to experts, about 90 percent cases of stroke are avertible and if one follows the guideline of the National Stroke Association, stroke can be avoided. Read on to know more about assessing the risk of stroke:

What are the symptoms of stroke?

As mentioned before, stroke is a consequence of interrupted oxygen and nutrition to the brain tissue. When the neurons are damaged secondary to stroke, they produce characteristic symptoms including the following:

There is sudden weakness and numbness in the limbs, especially in the arms, particularly on one side of the body. There is also trouble walking with loss of coordination and balance if the legs are involved. The patient can look confused, with trouble in comprehending instructions as well as trouble speaking. Alternatively, they can appear agitated while saying gibberish.  Some strokes present with difficulty in seeing out of one or both eyes.

Impending stroke is heralded by transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) which are symptoms similar to stroke but lasting only a few minutes. TIAs are warning signs for the brain but don’t cause permanent damage.

Stroke Risk Assessment

Stroke risk can be assessed using a scorecard for eight categories. Once the patient fills the scorecard, the cumulative score gives an idea about the probability of stroke and future cerebrovascular accident in this patient.

The Stroke Risk Assessment includes the following:

  1. Blood pressure

For people with normal blood pressure, less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, the risk is low. Caution is recommended for people with BP ranges between 120-139 by 80-89 mm Hg. People with blood pressure reading consistently over 140/90 are considered high risk.

  1. Smoking

Smokers with high pack years are at higher risk for cerebrovascular accidents compared to non-smokers while those who are trying to quit are cautioned.

  1. Cholesterol

For people with total cholesterol between 200 and 239, caution is recommended. For low risk, total cholesterol must be less than 200, while high risk patients have readings greater than 240.

  1. Diabetes

Diabetics are considered high risk for cerebrovascular accidents, while those with borderline high HbA1C are cautioned.

  1. Atrial fibrillation

Conditions associated with atrial fibrillation and irregular heartbeat have a high risk for cerebrovascular accidents as emboli are common in atrial fibrillation. If the heartbeat is not irregular, the risk of stroke is low.

  1. Family history

Patients with positive family history of stroke are considered high risk while those with no family history are at low risk.

  1. Weight

Patients who are slightly overweight are cautioned, and those with healthy weight are at low risk. Overweight and obese individuals are at high risk of stroke.

  1. Exercise

Those who exercise regularly or exercise a few times a week are at lesser risk than those with a sedentary lifestyle.

People with a caution score between 4 to 6 should work with nutritionists and healthcare providers to bring their score to the low risk category. Those who score 6 to 8 in the low risk category are considered in good health.

People with an overall score of 3 or more for high risk categories should see their healthcare provider urgently about stroke prevention strategies. If they feel an onset of loss of coordination, trouble seeing, face drooping on smiling, downward arm drift, and slurred speech, they should get a ct scan in karachi urgently to rule out stroke. Time is of the essence in cerebrovascular accidents and urgent care can prevent irreversible injury.